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Ninja Theory announces The Insight Project to study and alleviate mental illness through video games

Senua's Sacrifice
Senua's Sacrifice (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

What you need to know

  • Ninja Theory is a U.K. game development studio responsible for games like Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Hellblade and the upcoming Bleeding Edge.
  • Ninja Theory was acquired by Microsoft in 2018 and is now a part of Xbox Game Studios.
  • Ninja Theory has announced The Insight Project, a new team within the studio focused on tackling mental health problems.
  • The studio is working with mental health professionals on understanding how to treat mental illness.

Ninja Theory is no stranger to working on the topic of mental health. The studio received acclaim for its work on Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, which depicted a Pict warrior named Senua fighting psychosis, which she believes to be a curse. Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice went on to win multiple awards, including 5 BAFTAs, 3 The Game Awards and a Royal College of Psychiatrists award.

Since the game's releases and success, Tameem Antoniades, co-founder and Creative Director at Ninja Theory, has continued to talk with Paul Fletcher, Psychiatrist and Professor of Health Neuroscience at University of Cambridge. Fletcher was consulted for the studio's work on Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice and the continued talks have led Ninja Theory to announce a new project today: The Insight Project. You take a look at Ninja Theory's announcement video for The Insight Project below.

With The Insight Project, Ninja Theory is assembling a team to study and understand mental health problems while incorporating ways of treating them into game design, bringing both sides of advanced technology together. Ninja Theory's advanced game development tools will be used alongside scientifically sound methods of understanding the relationship between the mind and the body. The project will also be using "rigorous scientific principles to ensure its effectiveness and validity and it will adhere to strict standards of ethics and data management."

If you're interested in following this project closely, you can check out the Twitter account @theinsightpro or go to the official website here. If you haven't played Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, it's available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC, as well as being included on Xbox Game Pass.

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Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.

3 Comments
  • The amount of work that went into making Hellblade is great. And it's great that they continue with their research. As much as I loved Hellblade I hope it doesn't have a sequel. I hope they come up with something that's amazing and new. Watching the video it looks like that's exactly what they'll do.
    I was upset when they announced that they were working on that Overwatch-clone, because I think they are much better than that. I think they are capable of great innovation and brilliant experiences like Hellblade and I have hope that they'll produce more of these type of games...
    Let other studios do the Overwatch-clones...
  • Yes. To your whole comment. Just yes
  • Hellblade was an incredible game, generation defining even. Not only was it amazing to look at and play, the audio was the best I've ever heard in over 30 years of gaming. It moved me, massively. I felt dark at times, rejoiced in others and an overwhelming sadness and affiliation with the main character. Please, as the other comments say, continue this work. Dont make 'safe' or on trend games. Do you thing, do it the best you can and we will be here to enjoy, experience and be educated within your work. Thank you for Hellblade, thank you for highlighting mental health and thank you for being yourself.